Lawrence of Arabia said that, “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” Brian Watson is without a doubt a man who dreams with open eyes, the very best kind of “dangerous” man.
I’m not sure I’ve yet to meet, or ever will meet, an individual as visionary and well-rounded as Brian.
He’s a leader who is 100% invested in others - be that individuals, families, or communities. His authentic interest in and engagement with people, ideas, and cultures other than his own shows his strong human spirit and a willingness to always learn more.
In life as well as business, Brian doesn’t put people or projects into boxes; he encourages and empowers them to break out of those boxes and expand their horizons. In the time I’ve know and worked alongside him, I’ve seen Brian marked by loving unconditionally, investing universally, and thinking futuristically.
You often meet successful businessmen or influential leaders and you can tell that they see themselves as too busy or important for most people. Not Brian - Brian SEES you and is fully present in every interaction and engagement. His investments in their lives and relationship are 100% all in across the board.
Brian Watson is a man who genuinely means what he says and says what he means - and he inspires me to do the same.
Co-Founder and Partner, D/CO Consulting
Brian Watson is perhaps the most interesting man in the world. I know that title is supposed to belong to the Dos Equis man, but I think it’s Brian. And I know a lot of interesting people. I’ve traveled the world my whole life. I know business and political leaders. Religious and scientific leaders. I’ve met Bono and the Dalai Lama. Leah Rabin and Billy Graham. And while Brian doesn’t have the name recognition of those, he has what they have - an unrelenting commitment to hard work, excellence in all things and a compassionate and giving heart.
Today in our busy mostly self-serving world, it’s all too common for successful business men and women to do just that - business - and nothing more. But Brian doesn’t just do business. He also thoughtfully produces jobs, encourages entrepreneurship, provides facilities for the underprivileged, and listens intently to the stories of those around him.
Brian Watson is a man of integrity, clear vision, and a passion to use his business platform to bring positive change to this world. I am proud to say that Brian is both my business colleague and my friend.
World renowned published author and speaker
When I consider how to describe Brian Watson, I think of John Maxwell’s definition of a leader: “one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Many people talk about creating positive change, but a few—like Brian—simply do it. He exudes such a sincere positive perspective that it’s impossible not to be inspired by his infectious attitude.
In a culture where we’ve become so hungry for heroes, and so skeptical of their actual existence, I’m encouraged by the heroic energy I see Brian pouring into so many lives—his family, his friends, his employees, his colleagues, and the countless individuals touched by his generosity and philanthropy. He brings integrity to every endeavor and exemplifies what it means to live by faith. While I appreciate every opportunity to work with Brian, I’m even more grateful for his friendship.
Dudley J. Delffs, Ph.D.
President, Creative Fidelity, Inc.
I am currently Brian Watson’s business partner in one of his investment funds. I met Brian while working on the opposite side of him on a $224 million dollar transaction that stretched across 17 states, which he finally acquired against many odds. As such, I am a witness to Brian’s character from both sides of the table. I cannot vouch more highly for another individual’s content of character as I do for Brian Watson. Having spoken about partnerships with many other people in my career, the words that I often heard were “you will be a rich man” or “think of the money we can make.” When Brian and I spoke, he said something quite different than any other, “think of all of the good we can do for the world together”. Another contrast between Brian and others is his feeling of responsibility to the people who work with/for him. Many owners of large companies believe that their employees are paid in order to better the lives of their employers. The theory of having people work hard for the good of the owner, not the good of the company and the employees has become prevalent. My experiences with Brian and the way he treats his employees is nothing but the opposite. Brian’s feeling and saying is that “I live to love and to serve”. He believes that we works FOR and WITH his employees and treats his ownership as a responsibility not a privilege. His compassion and absolute care for positively empowering the people around him is second to none. I’m very proud to call Brian my partner and overwhelmed by his constant kindness, compassion, honesty, and willingness to serve his community, the US, his faith, and his family.
CIO and Co-Founder, NEO Funds
Everything Brian Watson does oozes with his passion to bring hope, healing and opportunity to our world. Through innovative thinking and the heart of a life-long learner Brian is making a difference in the City of Denver, the State of Colorado and the lives of countless men and women. His life is evidence that he does not just “talk a good game” - rather he is one who lives an authentic life of devotion to his family, faithfulness in his friendships and integrity in his business. His entrepreneurial leadership, thinking and experience are invaluable.
Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church
I have known Brian Watson for several years. I have a lot of respect for him and for how he conducts himself. I have never done business with him, nor he with me. My friendship is simply out of respect for him. When a mutual friend asked me to meet him, while he was running for public office, I hesitantly agreed to do so. I say hesitantly not against Brian in any way; but generally I don’t get involved with politics. As a retailer, taking a public side means that I will alienate half of my customer base…so I can only hurt myself!
Furthermore, I don’t care for most politicians. They view their potential service to their constituents as a career, make decisions based upon pleasing the most of their constituents so they maximize their chance of being reelected; and don’t focus on what is actually best for their constituents long term.
But from the first moment that I met Brian, I knew that he was different. His sincerity was real. His interest in other people was real. But most important, he looks for the best way to improve things, long term. Whether it is an opportunity to turn around a losing building or he is thinking of political issues, his mind is focused upon what is really the best long term choice to maximize the value or help his constituents. His awareness seems to me to be more global than local. He wants what is best, for his community, for his business partners, and for everyone that he seems to come in contact with. His willingness to give of himself is sincere, and based upon a genuine desire to improve the situation. He has the utmost of my respect.
Chairman, Shane Co.
Shane Co. is the largest privately owned jeweler in the United States with 27 locations.
Brian Watson is a dynamic leader, who has more influence in more circles than most of our established political leaders. Brian puts his considerable talents into every enterprise he takes on and his accomplishments are extensive and widespread. I admire Brian’s tremendous business acumen and his positive, optimistic outlook as he makes a solid impact in the business and public policy arena.
President, Leadership Program of the Rockies
I met Brian Watson through his interest in the Afrikmall project, the largest single business venture in the African community in Colorado. Although I have been working on this project for the past eight years the last two have been the most productive due to Brian’s support. Brian’s support manifests his love for African and its people. I believe that although he saw the big risk he was taking in supporting Afrikmall, he was driven by his desire to see a successful African community specifically and the Immigrant community in general. This is one hallmark of successful leaders: they live in the future and help create culture.
It is said that a good pilot has a cool head because in times of turmoil in flight, such pilots can think. I have sat around tables with Brian Watson to solve very challenging problems. And before, during and after the meeting, this gentleman is so calm, allowing him to listen, ask questions and enable partners to shine in finding the right solutions. No wonder the consistently fruitful outcomes. When all is said and done Brian is happy when everyone at the table wins. This is ingrained in his persona, as all of us close to him see it also in his relationship with his wife, Patricia and their children. This is one hallmark of successful leaders: They are problem solvers through collaboration.
The very insightful May West, in what is one of my favorite quotes says: “we live once but if you do it right once is enough." From watching Brian from a distance I see him as a person who is doing so much for communities across the state including schools, businesses and immigrant or citizens. I am not sure what Brian’s plans are but I see in him a very successful political leader and encourage him to give it shot. In my mind, successful leaders do what they do out of passion and from sincerity: “they come to the table when the meal is being prepared and not after the table is set.” This is one hallmark of successful leaders: they leave a legacy.
I watched almost a month of negotiations led by Brian on one side and I must say I have a lot to learn from this gentleman. It is a person of such high level of financial and business savvy, as well as negotiation skills that can make his financial dreams come to pass as they deal with financial institutions. This is one hallmark of successful leaders: they are savvy but are very thoughtful about what steps they take.
Cobina Lartson, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO, Afrikmall
Founder, Mfantseman Associations of North America
“If you are looking for a leader, look for his works.”
A long time ago, I learned that there is a tremendous difference between talkers and doers. Brian Watson is a doer.
From the time we met at a dinner several years ago, he impressed me as a man with a vision to get things done. He has accomplished that vision in Northstar Commercial Partners, working hard to develop resources into their highest and best use, not only for his investors but for the end users alike. Often, I run into Brian at the airport, going to look at another property and seek out a good return.
Brian decided to run for public office – a decision that is fraught with difficulty. He did it to better his community, and in whatever capacity – elected or not – he will.
And now his leadership at the Opportunity Coalition is bringing together some of the regions best thought leaders to inspire us all to do better in the things that matter.
Brian reminds me of the words of the renowned anthropologist, Margaret Meade who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Brian Watson is one of those thoughtful, committed citizens, and I’m proud to call him a friend.
President & CEO, Project Cure
Project Cure is one of the world's largest medical and equipment supply nonprofit organizations.
The Brian Watson's of the world are a rare breed.
I first met Brian at a ground breaking ceremony being conducted at a building that his company had just purchased and was re-purposing to provide jobs and economic commerce and aid to a much needed area in Aurora. Prior to that I had heard of Brian and some of the other things he was doing in the communities around the state.
I have come to know Brian better now and know he is truly one of the good guys. One of the guys who has a real passion for his country and to give back and seems to do so whenever he has the opportunity. My wife and I are radio show hosts and had the pleasure of interview Brian a few weeks ago about some of the projects that he and his company are engaged in.
His leadership with the Opportunity Coalition further shows his willingness to bring the best and the brightest before an ever growing number of business people to share their stories of success and failure because you cannot have one without the other.
My wife and I feel honored to know Brian and his family and look forward to many years working on projects together to become the change we wish to see in the world.
Denver Chapter President, American Conservatives of Color
It is a rare find when you meet a man with the level of integrity and focus as Brian Watson.
He is a one of a kind and I have deep respect for this lover of God, family and others. He demonstrates the balances that most strive for their whole life. Brian is a caring thoughtful businessman who is well seasoned in the real estate, economics, education, social networking and the nonprofit world. He is always on a project that is improving someone else’s business or life.
I have not found a more driven and goal oriented person in Denver, Colorado. We are truly blessed to have Brian Watson call Denver his home!
Corporate Relations, Xpand
Brian is someone who can get stuff done. I remember hearing the expression "if you want to get something done, give it to a busy man" when I was younger and wondering how that could be true. I have since learned that a busy man (or women) has a well-developed executive control center allowing them to focus on what is important and remove the noise and false signals that make the task confusing and complicated. Brian has that unique ability to get stuff done and that is appreciated in a world where information is abundant and knowledge is needed.
As a result Brian does not shirk from hard work, long hours or big challenges. Indeed, he seems to seek out the big challenges. Yet, Brian has an appreciation the need for a balanced life. He consciously maintains a loving relationship with his wife, Patricia and their family. As for giving to others, Brian is generous in both spirit and deed.
I appreciate how Brian is aware of his commitments in all areas of his life and consciously works to exceed expectations.
Brian has the same 24 hours as the rest of us but he makes the most of every minute.
Mark J. Richards
Vice Chairman, The Madison Group, Inc.
Over the past five years, I’ve come to know Brian as an investor and as a tenant. In both instances, Brian has been true to his word. My investments with Brian have performed in accordance with the proforma that he shared prior to the investment. As a tenant, again Brian is very fair, first with the lease that we negotiated, and second, in administration of that lease.
I’ve also found Brian to be very accommodating; willing to look at deal structures that are “out of the box” thinking when compared to others in the industry.
If you have an opportunity to work with Brian, I encourage you to do so. He is not only smart and innovative; he is a genuine human being!
Brian Watson is a great man, loving father and husband. He is also a successful entrepreneur and transformational leader.
As a West Point graduate, I understand integrity – Brian has it!
As a serial entrepreneur I understand risk taking – Brian manages this minefield with grace, patience and skill.
As an Ashoka Fellow I understand transformational leadership to affect change - Brian embodies these qualities.
As a leader and industry consultant, I understand the importance of diligence, decisiveness and competence. Brian is a shining light example of these traits.
I look to Brian for counsel, direction and friendship, get to know him, you’ll be glad you did!
CEO, Stellar Restaurant Solutions
Brian Watson certainly is an accomplished businessman and real estate investor, and in my view Brian’s Opportunity Coalition best illustrates his unique value to Colorado.
Brian is a great supporter of the principles of free enterprise and the merits of a business-driven economy. I and CACI, the state chamber, support that view. In the OC, Brian has created a forum to promote these principles in a generous and open forum, one that facilitates a deeper collaboration of business leaders and leaders of the broader community.
SVP of Business Partnerships, Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
Jesus lived a life of putting others before himself, and he tells his followers to live the same way. It is no surprise, therefore, that Brian Watson is a Christian.
I have followed Brian's lead in guiding Denver Christian through several real estate transactions. I have applauded Brian advocating community programs to help people. I have watched Brian step into a school classroom to inspire students. And I've observed Brian care for his wonderful family. Professionally and personally Brian is by any measure wildly successful, and I admire him for it.
But what easily impresses and inspires me most is Brian's sincerely generous heart. For all his success, Brian is far more interested in others succeeding, often at his own expense. For all his success, it's why Brian is so successful. In every business transaction, in every personal interaction, I have experienced Brian over and over again putting others before himself.
Jesus lived a life of putting others before himself, and he tells his followers to live the same way. Brian Watson listened.
Chief Executive Officer, Denver Christian Schools
We all know someone who is larger than life, inspires us, challenges us and is always there to mentor and guide us. I have had the good fortune to work beside Brian on a number of projects over the last 4 years and in a time when we are all concerned about leadership in our lives, our country and the world, Brian is a beacon.
Whether it’s business, charity, family or politics, Brian is a roll up your sleeves and get it done leader. He gets so much accomplished in a day that I’ve told him it appears he must have a body double. He gives direction but fosters creativity and collaborative effort and brings people together to accomplish what might have previously seemed impossible. Brian has an extraordinary gift, which he doesn’t take for granted, to reach out to people of all walks of life and connect on a personal level and encourage and foster success. He’s a modern day renaissance man who is as comfortable in a tuxedo as he is in camouflage, he works hard and he plays hard. You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his wife, his family and his horse – Brian is in his element when he is surrounded by all of them and it’s always evident by how incredibly happy and giving they are, even Apache.
I’m honored to call him friend and look forward to much future collaboration.
Loan Officer, Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc.
Brian, when I wrote the book on personal responsibility as the price of individual freedom and the driving force of American exceptionalism, it was self-starting leaders like you in the realms of business, politics, and civic betterment that I had in mind. These days when a high ideal of citizenship seems endangered in our shallow selfish culture, you walk the talk and set a practical example that’s so valuable. So thanks, my friend, and keep up the good fight. The battle is its own reward.
Former, Senate President
Author, Responsibility Reborn
In drafting a testimonial letter for Brian the biggest obstacle I find myself facing is describing him without sounding as if engaging in blatant or excessive hyperbole.
As the head of two young but thriving organizations (Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives and American Conservatives of Color) I’ve had the opportunity to spend (waste) time with many people who are big on talk, short on action. Brian is most certainly not one of those individuals. He is that rare person who says what he’ll do, does what he says. All the time. Every time. No exceptions.
Not only has he been an indispensable mentor, confidant and supporter, I have personally seen him consistently employ his considerable drive, determination and abundant natural leadership qualities not for selfish purposes but for the betterment of fellow human beings—from all walks of life. His contribution of time, talent and resources are of the variety that will leave a legacy far exceeding his years on planet earth. The level of respect and admiration Brian commands across the state of Colorado is second to none. That reputation is rapidly growing on the national stage also, as well it should.
Our organization, this city, state and country are the better for Brian’s presence in them; I am pleased and honored to call him supporter, partner,...friend.
Brian Watson is one of the smartest, most creative and well-connected people I know.
He puts his talent and fortune behind those people and causes he believes in whether political, personal or charitable.
He helped the Cancer League, a 100% volunteer organization, with donated space to plan and collect items for our Hope Ball, helping us to achieve our goal of $1million per year for cancer research in Colorado.
We are honored to know Brian and deeply respect the impact he is making in Colorado.
Certified Christie's International Broker, Kentwood Real Estate
Realtor and WWII Veteran
You can tell just by meeting him that Brian is a natural leader. He is also a philanthropist, a concerned citizen, a good businessman and most importantly, a great family person. He works hard at all these activities, and succeeds at all his endeavors.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with Brian on both the business side through Northstar and on the success of the Opportunity Coalition.
Senior Partner, Polsinelli
Brian Watson is an accomplished entrepreneur and successful business leader. He’s exceptional as he has a diversified portfolio of professional and personal interests. Most important however is his deep love of Colorado and desire to create and expand opportunities for all who he meets. What is remarkable is that he is personable and interested in the person he is speaking with. He is interested in their perspective and view on a wide variety of topics. Steady and consistent in his own strategy, philosophy and beliefs he is respectful of others opinion and is searching for common ground on mutual areas of interest.
As a former elected official, Chamber of Commerce CEO, and military officer my career has almost entirely consisted of working with people of different experiences and backgrounds to solve problems in communities and business. Of the thousands of people I’ve worked throughout my 25 years of business & public policy, Brian is in the very best category as he combines his personal drive, business acumen, sense of community, desire to do good and caring for those he is around.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Brian closely on the activities of the Opportunity Coalition, events for major organizations around metro Denver, the American Lung Association, and the launch of the Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Air Force Station. All have been noteworthy and in each the best is yet to come. We’re fortunate to have his leadership in Colorado and if you have a chance to partner with him, you’ll find the experience to be personally rewarding and we’ll all be the better for it.
It goes without saying that Brian is a master communicator, a passionate connector, and a natural born leader with truly exceptional vision and discipline.
Most notably, however, Brian is a man of integrity with an incredible heart and love for others. He is a giver with a deep-rooted compassion for all people, regardless of their age, background or ethnicity.
In addition to being a giver, Brian is also a doer. He is a man of action that drives incredible results to the initiatives that he aligns himself with.
Brian also has an amazing, contagious enthusiasm for philanthropy, community, business, politics, faith, and family that one simply can't deny.
I cannot say enough good things about Brian. He is, without question, one of the very best men I know.
Brian Watson is tenacious and committed to goal achievement. We have worked on some projects together and Brian is never satisfied with meeting a goal. He wants to exceed the goal, break all records, and set new standards. Brian is able to do this due to the deep personal and professional contacts he has, and how he is able to make connections between those contacts to everyone's benefit.
Founder, I Am Created Equal
Brian has demonstrated through various initiatives that faith, family and financial success are not mutually exclusive. He is driven by Biblical principles, demonstrates affection and commitment to his wife and children while pursing divers business ventures.
I was introduced to Brian through a contact at Innovation Pavilion, an eco-system of entrepreneurs, while seeking a real estate investor for Afrikmall team. His involvement helped our project to finally become a reality. We cannot thank him enough for believing in the Afrikmall vision.
As a leader, Brian understands the value of building genuine relationships for long term mutual benefit. I must say, he also is a smart negotiator, eloquent communicator and a people person.
President & CEO, Eliason Consulting Group
I have had the privilege of working with Brian in business, in philanthropy and on a personal level. I appreciate greatly the energy and positive approach that he sets for any endeavor. Uncommon in the world today, Brian’s success is not through stepping on, over or around others, but is built on bringing people together and building towards a common goal. Brian is a wonderful friend and a pleasure to work with in a business transaction. His efforts in creating opportunity for others are beyond compare and his willingness to invest his time and energy in the future of others and our world are to be commended.
I have known Brian as a commercial real estate colleague for over 20 years.
I admired his tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit when he ventured off on his own to start Northstar Commercial Partners, leaving behind a successful brokerage career at Cushman & Wakefield. He seemed to have a keen eye for unrealized value, turning around overlooked assets.
But it was only recently that I had the good fortune to work directly with Brian as his leasing agent when he purchased Cherry Creek Place I. Brian hit the ground running making smart value-add improvements to the property literally in the first week after closing. As a result, interest in the property grew, and because of his responsive win/win deal-making approach, we have leased 47,000 sf in 6 months. Occupancy has climbed from 69% to 81%, and the property is well positioned to continue to appreciate through leasing success.
As a broker, it is a pleasure to work with an owner who “gets it”, treating tenants as valued clients not an adversarial party. I look forward to working with Brian for years to come.
President, Vector Property Services
By gosh by golly, Brian Watson is as genuine as it gets! From the first time meeting Brian, you feel like a long lost friend reunited. Brian wants to know more about you, how you tick and what can he do to help you reach your personal goals and dreams. His life is an open book and you feel welcome to join in Brian's journey the moment you meet him. All the events that Brian provides with Opportunity Coalition, podcasts of outstanding interviews and social media makes even the most remote watchers feel connected. I truly appreciate Brian's kindness and willingness to reach out and connect people within his colossal Rolodex of friends, co workers, non profit organizations, government officials, legislators, business people and entrepreneurs. Thanks Brian, see you at the next event!
Treasurer and Public Trustee, Routt County
Fire Chief, Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Dept.
President, LPR Class of 2014
I have had the pleasure of working with Brian in a variety of capacities. From politics to non-profit projects, Brain never ceases to amaze us with his passion, generosity, dedication and good humor. But what sticks out to me most about Brian is his dedication to his family. No matter how many projects he has a hand in - Brian never fails to make intentional time for his family. I remain constantly impressed that he is able to run such a successful business, be involved in countless philanthropic projects across Denver and still make time to take his young sons on an exclusive hunting trip.
There are many qualities admirable about Brian, and I have had the great joy of working with him on many successful projects – but his dedication to his family will always stand out to me as one of his greatest successes and I imagine that’s how he would want it.
Senior Associate, The Starboard Group
I had the pleasure of getting to know Brian and his team through their wonderful charity work; in this instance supporting the United States Marine Corps and Toys 4 Tots. Their generous donation of space, money, time, man hours, resources, network and overall thoughtfulness is striking and especially good to see from such a sharp businessman. Brian is a forward looking thinker with an eye on more than just the bottom line.
Public Affairs and Business Development Consultant
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
The aforementioned quote comes to mind when I think of Brian Watson and his involvement in business, politics, and philanthropic endeavors. I am of the firm belief that each of the areas where Brian becomes involved, there is most likely a positive result on behalf of the stakeholders.
Brian is a unique individual and a quick study. He generously shares his time, talent, and treasure as a parent, businessman, and community leader, for the benefit of others.
By living life fully while being in the service of others, Brian has made a positive difference at many levels for many people.
Businesswise and personally, I look forward to strengthening our relationship through developing our mutually beneficial interests.
Geoffrey R. Bailey
President, The Bailey Company, LLLP
Board Member, Erie County Investment Co.
Board Member and Former Chair, Good Times Restaurants Inc.
Neigh, Neigh, Neigh!
Brian's trusted American Paint Horse